Poor customer service is a universal problem that impacts on the bottom line and profit margins in all types of industries, businesses and services throughout the world. I have personally experienced bad customer service numerous times as I am sure you and most other people have as well. To narrow down what is the primary cause of bad service and what irritates individuals is not easy simply because what may annoy you intensely might not necessary annoy someone else. My research on the subject has unearthed some interesting facts on the subject which I am sure will help you deal with this problem if it is occurring in your workplace.
What is poor customer service?
To answer this question we looked at many different bad service scenarios in a number of different business and hospitality sectors and concluded that bad customer service is principally caused by one or more of the following –
- Poor product or service – can relate to quality, presentation, price, etc
- Bad after sales service – can relate to delivery, replacement of faulty item etc.
- Being placed on hold by an automated voice and told to wait
- Having your phone call lost or transferred unnecessarily
- Unhelpful and impolite staff
- A ‘can’t be bothered’ attitude of staff
- Waiting in a line of people to be served because of insufficient or shoddy staff
- Poorly trained staff lacking knowledge and skill
How does poor customer service affect business?
Research has shown a high percentage of businesses and organizations fail to realize that the impact of a poor customer service experience can lead to a drop in profits and turnover. By providing poor customer service negative word-of-mouth can spread very quickly in the community causing the business or organization to suffer by having a reputation that can be very hard to shake off.
In such cases consumers will invariably ask themselves why they should wait for service then be served by an unhelpful shop assistant when they can buy the same product elsewhere without all the hassle.
The most powerful mechanism that will improve business growth is to firstly recognize there is a poor customer service culture so that steps can be taken to eliminate it through such measures as skills training and the introduction of staff incentives. By changing the existing culture, employees will be energized and eager to please leading to a happier customer experience and ultimately a boost in return business.
Some tips on how to improve bad customer service
It is well known that a company’s image and reputation can be won or lost on the impression conveyed to the customer at first point-of-contact. This contact can be simply through phone contact so it is important skilled staff are engaged to ensure the caller is treated promptly, courteously and directed to the appropriate person or department they require.
Research has shown that most callers generally detest being put on ‘hold’. Many people these days lead busy lives and if for example they phone a company looking for a plumber or electrician to repair a broken fridge or fix an electrical fault they won’t want to leave a message on an answer-phone when there are hundreds of other service people waiting for their business.
Similarly, reception staff in front-of-office areas must be smartly presented, professional and polite to customers. A bad impression by the office girl or shop counter assistant could quickly result in a lost sale which could have a huge bearing on a businesses bottom line. Ensure staff employed to deal with customers on a day to day basis are trained and knowledgeable about the core business and have the experience and skill to go the extra mile to assist customers.
Most importantly, the product and service provided should be of a high quality and standard.
For example customers paying for a product expect to get the product they are paying for and not a defective or poorly manufactured replica for example.
Providing sub standard products or services will quickly lead to your business getting negative word-of-mouth comments and this can be a difficult reputation to shake off.